How effective is a school’s web space- an American Example

Some fascinating data, presented in a lush visual mix of colours and fonts. While this is for the USA, what appeals is how we could apply this to our own situation; providing examples of some useful lines of enquiry regarding how effectove our web presence actually is, in comparison with others.

Schools That Rule the Web
Created by: Best Education Sites

Getting the message across-effective methods of presentation

Note taking is an under valued skill. It is taken for granted that pupils or students know how to take notes. Not so. It is actually a complex skill which needs to be taught, and one I keep reviewing to see what is regarded as most effective. I am also interested in what makes good presentations. Do you issue notes before, during or after a lesson? On paper or electronically? What physically do pupils do in terms of note taking during the lesson? Do we use PowerPoint or perhaps Prezi? Th enature of our presentation has a big impacton the use pupils make of their notes, and on how they learn.

Edward Tufte is an expert on design and discussion on his forum has much to say about the elegance and application of visual images and the printed word. For additional thoughts see also here

Issue handouts BEFORE a lesson and use them actively DURING the lesson

NO Power Points-sporadic use of slides-emphasise pupil interaction (“Instead of constructing Powerpoint-style slides, use original material-screenshots from websites, book covers, journal articles enlarged as “callouts” in the style of contemporary current affairs programs. Include animations and motion”) See http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/powerpoint

Find a good “supergraphic” (i.e., a graphic loaded with information) and hand it out at the beginning of the presentation and let audience explore it using their own cognitive style.
Annotation is at the heart of explaining things.

Apply 7 Design Fundamentals
1.) show comparisons
2.) show causality
3.) show multivariate data
4.) don’t separate words from graphics,
5.) document everything and tell people about it,
6.) Focus on quality and relevance
7.) important things should be adjacent in space

From Standford University we get a host of advice:

Start by explaining a concept in the traditional lecture format, using graphics and equations as well as words. After a five-to ten- minute mini-lecture, pose a brief problem that the students can’t answer unless they understand the basic concept.
Ask students to turn to take a minute to discuss the concepts just gone over.
Active participation and immediate content review enhances student learning.

Uses knowledge of how students learn. First present complex ideas in a simplified form, stripped of qualifications and conditions. Once students understand the general idea, they are prepared to make sense of all the details and qualifiers.

Consider a combined lecture/discussion format that gives more responsibility to students to raise and answer questions.

At the start of class meetings, ask students to summarize the main points covered in recent lectures. Make explicit connections between that summary and the new lecture. This strategy can help students understand the relationship between new material and previous material, while reinforcing what they have learned.